Rebuilding Ruby, Part 2.

So, we’re a month into the Ruby rebuild, and here’s how things stand:

  • The engine case has been sent to a bloke called Andy for him to examine, and ascertain does it need line boring or any other kind of fettling.
  • We need to decide whether it will be rebuilt as a 1641cc, 1776cc or 1835cc – which will involve different heads, different barrels and pistons. A larger engine won’t be under so much strain when cruising at motorway speeds and carrying all our camping gear.
  • When we’ve decided on the engine size, then we can decide on carbs – we’re upgrading to twin carbs for a bit more oomph, and after conversations with the lovely people at Eurocarb,  we’ll be going for Dells or Webers.
  • Gearbox mounts are being replaced – new Rhino mounts going in, and the gearbox oil is being drained and replaced.  The gear selector linkage bushes are to be replaced to make gear changes less like stirring your tea – currently we play a game of gear change roulette at every change!
  • A new clutch kit is to be fitted.
  • The old exhaust has been removed – a stainless steel Vintage Speed tuckaway exhaust is on back-order from VWHeritage – apparently this could take a month, despite them saying that it is a week turnaround on their website.

And at the front end…

  • The steering box and column has gone to Simon (Rusting Hulk on the SSVC). He gave us a possible price range when we contacted him, from best to worst case scenario. Unfortunately, as we suspected, our steering box needs a lot of TLC, including new worm gear and peg, which will be replaced with NOS parts. The case and bracket will also be shot-blasted, and new bushes and seals fitted, and new grease and paint applied.
  • We will also be freshening up the steering with new tie rods, drag link, steering damper, and a new swivel pin kit.

Other things to consider…

  • Kulh-tek air scoops. Particularly important if we are increasing engine size, to try and keep it as cool as possible.
  • We’ve discussed a fire suppression kit. Although we discussed this at the Type 2 Bootcamp and the general feeling there was that it was not necessary in a well-maintained engine, we both feel that it would be worth it for added peace of mind. We’re considering VW Aircooled Works Fire Extinguisher kit, fuel lines and Fuel Tank cut off solenoid, as we’ve heard good things about it.
  • Uprated brakes. If we’re fitting a bigger lump, it’ll need more to stop it. A servo kit from VW Jim has been suggested to make our drum brakes more effective.

So, that’s how things stand at the moment. It’s a waiting game, and we’re hoping that we’ll have the van back on the road for at least part of the summer!

Are you doing any work on your bus at the moment? Let us know in the comments!


Rebuilding Ruby, Part 1.

So, as previously mentioned, Ruby is with Accrington Beetles and Campers, having her rear end and undercarriage fettled.

A fortnight in, and things look like this:

Engine is out!








The bumper had just a leeeetle bit of oil on it:


The engine is off to be rebuilt this week.

Exhaust is off too, and going to be replaced with a Vintage Speed one.


Then it was off with the front wheels and the steering box:








Last time I saw a dashboard like this, it was because someone had broken into my Fiat 500 and stolen my airbags and seatbelts, even down to the steering wheel in the footwell…



So the box and column are now out, ready to be sent down to Simon for refurb:


Leaving Dave with a footless Ruby to continue fettling.


Of course, it would have been rude when visiting not to say hello to Carmen and Ringo from Vintage VWs 4 Hire:







We can rebuild her. We have the technology.

So, today was the day. We picked up Ruby-choo, and drove her to Accrington Beetles and Campers for her engine rebuild and other repairs and improvements.

That makes it sound very straightforward. Let me elucidate:

We drove to the barn where Ruby is stored. We realised that neither of us have the codes for various gates and doors saved anymore, as we have both had new phones since we first stored Ruby. Thankfully, Rooobarb’s memory is even better at retaining random information than we thought.

We took Ruby’s cover off and found that her gutters were full of spiders, and that she had been marking her territory on the floor of the barn. We also found that her battery was completely flat, so attached the booster pack and got her started. We then noticed that her back O/S tyre was flat, so used the compressor on the booster pack to pump it up. Whilst doing this, Rooobarb turned her engine off again. So she needed more booster pack to get her started. During this, Custard found a bar of dark chocolate on the bulkhead that must have been left there during our ill-fated last trip out in September. Result!

We set off, Rooobarb driving and Custard following behind, and Rooobarb announced that he was going to stop for some petrol. Turning the engine off whilst waiting for a man to finish filling his screenwash at the pump meant needing the booster pack again. However now, for whatever reason, the immobiliser, which has been somewhat of a mystery since we bought Ruby, decided now that the battery was being tampered with, and prevented the engine being started. Oh, and the battery seemed to have gone in the immobiliser keyfob. And the garage didn’t have the right size replacement battery for sale.

This meant having to push the van away from the pumps, down a slope, then up a slope into the non-functioning car wash, where it would have to be left whilst we found somewhere that sold a replacement battery. (Lady in garage: “How long are you going to be?” “How long does it take to find a really obscure-sized battery?”) Thankfully, the next garage down the road had one, although the LED on the fob still didn’t seem to be lighting up, and thanks to the traffic, it still took about half an hour to sort.

Back to the van, push to pumps, finally put some fuel in, attach booster pack, fiddle with immobiliser, get van started. We finally hopped on the motorway and cruised up to Accrington at a heady 55mph with the sun shining, to arrive with Dave and discuss our plans.

On Monday the engine will come out and be examined, we will see how much of our current engine can be used, what needs to be replaced, and start drawing up a plan for replacing other parts, such as the exhaust, clutch, gear linkage, and steering box. Fun and games!